(Exclusive interview).- Gregory Parsons, Sportradar’s Regional Sales Director for Africa, talked with Focus Gaming News about the upcoming ICE Africa.
ICE Africa is on track to become one of the biggest events in the gambling industry. The second edition of the event is just around the corner, as it will take place on October 2-3 in South Africa, and the biggest companies of the gaming industry will be part of it.
Gregory Parsons, Sportradar’s Regional Sales Director for Africa, talked with Focus Gaming News ahead of the new edition of ICE Africa and assessed the current situation of the industry in Africa, as well as the company’s expectations for the show.
How big is an event like ICE Africa for a sports betting solutions company like Betradar?
ICE Africa is one of the most important conferences for us in the region. The event provides a welcome opportunity to meet with clients, both current and prospective, to share our knowledge and discuss the products and services that can best support their needs. The African betting market is in a state of transition at the moment, but it is one that offers plenty of opportunities. We’re looking forward to continuing to help operators realise such opportunities utilising our 360-degree betting portfolio, which has everything required to build and maintain a successful sportsbook.
You have achieved many partnership deals worldwide, do you expect the show to help you network and work towards new agreements?
We’re really proud of the number of businesses that continue to entrust us as their partner and provider. We’ve been working across the industry for almost two decades now so our knowledge and expertise, including how to make meaning out of data and the betting tools required to create a truly successful sportsbook, speaks for itself. This is one of the reasons why we have been able to secure the likes of over 600 bookmakers as clients and some of the world’s biggest sports leagues as official partners. This ensures that our data is of the highest value. Combined with our leading expertise, technology and quality and flexible products, we are able to provide solutions for all kinds of bookmakers in various markets. Being able to showcase this at events like ICE Africa is a really effective way to further expand Sportradar’s support across the globe.
The African betting market is in a state of transition at the moment, but it is one that offers plenty of opportunities.
What’s your assessment of the current situation of the African sports betting market?
Africa is moving away from retail betting to live and mobile betting at the moment. And, as many are aware, this provides even greater chances to expand an offering and increase the engagement factor of a sportsbook. This is essential in Africa as perceptions of betting have changed somewhat from a one-off win to one that appreciates it as a more entertaining experience.
This means bookmakers in the continent need to focus on and potentially make more of a concerted effort towards technology now and in the future. This isn’t just about investing in the latest innovations, it’s about understanding audiences in terms of what sports they like to bet on and how, and other ways of appealing to them and engaging them. This can differ across the region. It’s also about knowing what tools to use to target these audiences on an ongoing basis by utilising the right metrics, as well as investing in risk management to protect a sportsbook’s operations as well.
What are your main expectations for the company’s development in the region?
Given the assessment of the African market above, there are a number of ways we plan on continuing to develop our support in the region. Our marketing and sponsorship service, ad:s, is an effective way for bookmakers to identify, target and retain punters based on their activity and preferences. With the move towards more live and mobile betting in Africa, ad:s is a service that can help a bookmaker reduce costs and achieve real differentiation.
Our Managed Trading Services (MTS) provides bookmakers, both large and small, with everything they need to run a sportsbook, whether at the local or wider level. This includes our market-leading odds as well as Betting Stimulation to drive the entertainment and engagement factor that punters seek, whilst having access to our expert trading and risk management services to both enhance and protect a sportsbook. All of our betting odds and solutions are completely customisable and available through one seamless integration.
Being able to showcase this at events like ICE Africa is a really effective way to further expand Sportradar’s support across the globe.
Do you see Africa with the potential to grow into a key market for sports betting and iGaming?
Africa is a key market that is full of potential for sports betting and iGaming. Some believe it will emerge to reflect trends seen in the more-established European market. While this is true, there are certain differences that make the region unique. With data penetration and smartphone adoption causing the shift to a more live and mobile betting, again, technology, and being able to continuously adapt to this will what be separates the successful sportsbooks from the rest. With legalised betting markets continuing to emerge across the world, this presents Africa with the opportunity to look at best regulatory practices and use this to build a balanced, socially responsible and empowering market that encourages investment and ensures the African industry is able to flourish on home soil.